Today’s Gospel contains, what could be thought of as some of the most ominous words in the Bible. ‘Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.’ When His own townsfolk refused to listen to His message; when His neighbors couldn’t see past the one they thought they knew to the truth and instead of accepting His words they tried to hurt, if not kill Him, He just left them. It seems that God turned His back on His creation when they wouldn’t listen. This might give us some concern, and indeed it should – but maybe not for the reason we might think.
God, almighty never has and never will leave His creation to fend for themselves; no matter how obstinate we might be it isn’t in His nature to give up on us.
“This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him we shall also live with him;
if we persevere we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
We hear in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. If we return to our Lord, He is waiting like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son. This is the main point of this parable! His Love for us will never allow Him to turn His back.
No, that isn’t what the last sentence in today’s Gospel should give us concern about.
Our concern should be: can we be like Christ in those situations? ‘Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.’ Not to reject them but to allow them the freedom to come to understand His message, to give them time to embrace the Gospel message. He won’t force them and He won’t coerce them – none of that fits within love.
Can we; after witnessing to the Gospel and coming up against resistance such as Jesus did – turn and leave quietly, maybe in humiliation, maybe in fear? Can we just kick the dust off our sandals and move on to the next opportunity of witnessing God’s message? Can we radiate the love that St. Paul speaks of so eloquently in our second reading? Can we, deep down, allow God to work, and trust in His greatness and goodness – not allowing our pettiness to interfere in His working through us? This is the concern that, at least to me, I have from today’s Gospel. Can we?